This is now the end of my first full day in Punta dal Este and tomorrow, Friday 18 Oct, I “register” at the Clipper office to formally join the UNICEF yacht for the beginning of Leg 2. The weather today has been very ………………. South Atlantic! It’s been raining pretty much all day, cold – certainly much colder than the 27 degrees C experienced in Buenos Aires last week – and windy. Excellent preparations I can here you say. Thankfully the forecast for the rest of the week is for improvement.
Ruth and I arrived yesterday in time for the Leg 1 prize giving ceremony at the Punta del Este yacht club. It was great to catch up with my UNICEF crew mates and to bump into old friends from Levels 1, 2 and 3 training who are racing with other crews. Line honours went to Qingdao in first place and as they were playing their Joker they doubled their points, picking up 22 points plus bonus points from the scoring gate meaning they are the current overall leaders. Sanya finished second, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam third and UNICEF a very creditable fifth. No news yet on penalty points for race 1 and race 2 of Leg 1 which may yet alter the overall race standings before we sail again on the 23rd. Plenty of rumours flying around about other yachts – none of which bare repeating here – but I can report that Holly and the UNICEF sail repair team have been busy repairing our Code 2 Spinnaker which did suffer damage during Leg 1. In breaking news (DEFINITELY NO PUN INTENDED) Angie our circumnavigating Chief victualler …… has broken her wrist and will have to go home to New Zealand for an op. Heartbreaking news as it means she will miss at least the next leg, and very likely Leg 3. She was still in good spirits last night but we will miss her very much as a team. Sheila, one of the joiners for Leg 2 will take on the role. The skipper of Seattle has also left his boat in Punta. Regular followers of Clipper news will be aware that he fell overboard in the North Atlantic during Leg 1. He was on deck at night and not clipped on. The only gossip I am prepared to repeat is that last night I was told, admittedly at least third hand, that on entering the water his first thought was, “I’m going to die,” and upon seeing Seattle begin to manoeuvre to pick him up his second thought was “I’m going to be sacked.”
After registering tomorrow, and surrendering my passport, Ruth and I will join all crews and race supporters at a welcome Asado – a traditional Uruguayan welcome BBQ, something of a South American meat-fest! On Sunday 20th I will do my pre-Leg 2 sailing assessment-sail afloat with other Leg 2 joiners in CV29 (Sanya) from 0900 to about 1630 and immediately thereafter I should find out my bunk allocation, who I am hot-bunking with, which watch I am in and who I will be Mother-Watching with!
The following day I am a tour guide for 3 hours showing children from Punta del Este schools around the UNICEF boat and then on the 22nd it’s time to get all my kit weighed, drop my bags off onboard, complete a briefing about the onboard satellite communications kit (that hopefully will allow me to continue blogging) and some other last-full-day-alongside stuff. That afternoon we will all attend the Leg 2 race brief in a nearby hotel before each team will complete their team briefings onboard individual yachts. Wednesday 23rd Oct is Race start for me and Race start for race 3, Leg 2 across the South Atlantic to Cape Town. All crews must be onboard their yachts by 11am. There will be a farewell parade and yachts will slip lines at 2.00pm local. The Parade of Sail starts at 2.45pm and the yachts will cross the race start line at 4.00pm. More to follow ………..